William Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage,” which means there is no limit to where you can study acting abroad. From ancient Greek dramas, to the Peking operas of China, and the legendary tragedies of the Bard himself, the theater may be different around the globe but it is ever present, and therefore offers limitless opportunities for students. Students can increase their chances of more performances in their home universities by participating in an acting study abroad program.
Why Study Acting Abroad
Theater is a quintessential part of culture. Studying acting abroad is the perfect way to experience the traditions, understand the influences, and expand your range (and resume) as an acting major. Acting study abroad programs allow you to experience theater from around the world, in the context it originates. By connecting the stage to the history, language, political scene, worldview, sense of humor, and much more of a specific country or culture, you will develop a much deeper understanding of your craft and the field of acting.
Many of the most popular acting study abroad programs are located in large cities, such as London, Dublin, or Los Angeles, which means the cost of studying acting abroad can sometimes be quite high. However, there are just as many acting programs available in small towns, so students can also bask in the culture of their host country and study acting abroad in these locations too.
By far, the most popular destination to study acting abroad is England. As the home to numerous famous playwrights, such as Oscar Wilde, Lord Byron, and Shakespeare himself, students are able to get both an immersive and historical perspective on classic English theater. There are also a number of academic programs in England specializing in the theories of stagecraft, as well as specialized institutes offering acting study abroad programs.
Just next door, and the birthplace of George Bernard Shaw, Ireland offers an equal number of acting study abroad programs. Cities such as Dublin and Limerick are home to many world renowned arts, including Irish dancing, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, and the World Music Center, and the arts are a clear priority in these cities. Many of organizations offer opportunities to study acting in Ireland in the summer or J-term, to accommodate the rigid degree plans many acting majors face.
Los Angeles, California also has a number of acting programs, available to both international and U.S. American college students. These acting study abroad programs offer a strong competitive advantage to students interested in pursuing acting in film or television. Academics are typically paired with internships in L.A., and many programs offer specific acting certifications for students.
Of course Europe isn’t your only option when contemplating studying acting abroad, although for this field of study it tends to have the most options. If you are curious about exploring acting in the context of Eastern cultures, there are great acting study abroad programs in Turkey, where the East meets the West. In the heart of the Mediterranean, you can experience theater with influences from different religious, ethnic, and historical perspectives, all within one country.
Studying Acting Abroad
One of the biggest challenges for acting majors who want to study acting abroad is the cumulative nature of an acting degree. Sometimes, it is easier for acting majors to study abroad early so they can take generic elective credits abroad, before diving into the core of their degree program.
If focusing on more specific acting courses while studying abroad, most acting majors have the most luck finding programs the second half of their sophomore year or first half of their junior year. Typical acting study abroad programs focus on a select few subjects, such as historical perspectives on theater, which is quite common in much of Europe. A lot of universities also offer acting courses that take an in-depth look at specific plays or playwrights that are from the host country.
It is also possible to find introductory level theory classes, such as stagecraft, dramatic theory, performance studies, specific histories of plays and playwrights, courses in design and production, acting techniques, or theater analysis.
Acting majors may also consider studying abroad for language learning. Whether you want to take advanced immersive courses to improve proficiency, or you are hoping to get some introduction to a new language for your resume, studying abroad is the best way to hone language skills.
It may also be strategic for acting majors to consider exploring electives that deal with the cultural nature of the acting business. Courses in local auditioning process or contract negotiation may be beneficial for students hoping to pursue careers in international theater or film.
- Put It In Context. Studying works of literature and stage in the original setting they were written is a valuable perspective to understanding the building blocks of the field. While theater is such a huge part of culture, it is not the only aspect. Experiencing drama within the atmosphere and environment it originates builds a deeper understanding. Plus, understanding the influence of local culture and traditions on the field can give you a competitive advantage in pursuing an international career in acting.
- Walk the Talk. Whether you are looking to gain foreign language skills or acquire practical vocabulary while working on the set of a production (or both!), studying acting abroad can increase your linguistic skill set and marketability.
- Perform in Local Productions. Many international students find opportunities to join productions while studying acting abroad. Imagine acting in the Globe Theater or playing the part of Shylock in the streets of Venice. These international experiences will build your resume and repertoire for a solid acting career.